Anna Gragert
February 16, 2016 3:27 pm
Twitter

Last week, 19-year-old Lauren Richardson experienced something that’s straight out of our worst period nightmares: After inserting a tampon, the Suffolk teen felt pain, went to remove it several minutes later, and the tampon ripped in half while inside her.

Later on, Lauren decided to test the other Aldi brand tampons in the box by dunking them in water for five minutes. She filmed this experiment and demonstrated that the tampons quickly fell apart.  

“I can’t believe how bad these tampons are — when I discovered it I was really shocked. I could have been at risk of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome and people die of that,” Lauren asserted.

“Imagine if someone bought these thinking they would save a bit of money and could be using them right now not knowing how dangerous they are — it’s terrible. I don’t want people to buy them and I don’t think Aldi should be selling them — they should be recalled.”

In response to this, Aldi told Independent,

With this serious matter in mind, we reached out to ob-gyn Iralia Georgiou, M.D., who answered our many questions about this frightening situation. First, we wanted to know: Is this common?

“One issue that I have seen is people who might not have removed it from the applicator or have not realized that there’s two components to it,” Dr. Georgiou told us, adding that she is not familiar with the Aldi brand. “I’m not saying that it’s not possible, but I’ve just never seen it happen because usually they are one solid, sponge-like product.”  

Lauren also claims that the tampon began to hurt after insertion, which stood out to us because – though it did rip in half – isn’t it still a tampon? In other words, why exactly did the tampon cause her pain? Dr. Georgiou explained:

We also asked nurse practitioner Lola Pellegrino how this could happen, and she responded, saying, “Anything left inside the vagina for too long can come apart. From everything in this video, it looks like that it did in fact come apart, but it’s a tampon in a vessel of water, not a vagina —so do keep that in mind.” 

She added, “So, I’m not sure how replicable that situation is. But of course, nothing is impossible or unthinkable in the realm of the vagina. Stick to the directions on the tampon box, including the maximum hours you’re allowed to leave one in, and if you suspect that something’s been left in there, do a good sweep.”

We also asked Dr. Georgiou to address Lauren’s Toxic Shock Syndrome claim and she emphasized that this type of issue is not guaranteed to cause an instantaneous infection. It typically, according to Dr. Georgiou, “causes more in the way of discharge, odor, or a vaginitis, localized, irritation-type thing” and doesn’t often lead straightaway to a “bacterial, bodily, systemic infection.”

Dr. Georgiou also mentions,

In the end, Dr. Georgiou explains that if Lauren did not realize that the tampon broke in half, it would have been similar to her forgetting to take her (entire, not broken) tampon out. She’d either feel discomfort, be able to remove it herself, her gynecologist would notice it during an exam, or it would make its way out naturally.

Overall, if this happens to someone else in the future, Dr. Georgiou advises, “I would not hesitate to go see your gynecologist.”

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